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HER Number:MDV110514
Name:Catch Meadow South East of Little Bowley


The earthwork ditches of a small catch meadow of probable 19th to early 20th century date were visible on aerial photographs of 1946 on the combe slopes to the south-east of Little Bowley. The gutters have probably been levelled.


Grid Reference:SS 907 042
Map Sheet:SS90SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCadbury
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCADBURY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (Post Medieval to XX - 1540 AD to 1946 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3260-3261 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Parallel earthwork ditches are visible.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2014-2015, East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV356883.

The earthwork remains of a catch meadow of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on a small number of aerial photographs of the 1940s as roughly parallel narrow ditches on the combe slopes to the south-east of Little Bowley.
Many catch meadow systems are believed to date to the post medieval period, although it is likely that they were first developed in the medieval period and often continued in use into the twentieth century. Catch meadows provided a simple, inexpensive and effective form of irrigation. When irrigation was required water was diverted from a source such as a pond, river, spring or spring-fed stream and passed along the meadow slopes via one or more of the gutters, which was then caused to overflow. The lower, roughly parallel gutters then ‘caught’ and redistributed water passing it evenly over the surface of a meadow below. The gently flowing water prevented the ground freezing in winter and encouraged early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock, particularly important during the hungry gap of the March and April.
The system was probably supplied with water by a stream that flowed to the south-east from the direction of Little Bowley; a broader roughly east-west aligned ditch visible at the northern end of the gutters may be evidence of the upper – unmapped reaches of this stream.
The gutters were not noted on more recent photographs or images derived from lidar, and it is likely that much of the catch meadow earthworks have been levelled.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV354994Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1823. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3260-3261 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #69946 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6530 - The East and Mid-Devon Rivers Catchment NMP project (Ref: ACD613)

Date Last Edited:Mar 23 2015 2:58PM